R700 m fraud cases probed

THE KwaZulu-Natal government is investigating 25 fraud and corruption cases involving more than R700million, finance MEC Ina Cronjé said yesterday.

She revealed this when delivering her department's budget in the provincial legislature.

"Twenty five cases, involving R768,827,043 have been investigated in the 2009/10 financial year."

She said cases uncovered by an internal audit unit involved fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering.

The figures excluded investigations conducted by individual departments.

Cronjé said her department had joined forces with the police and other forensic organisations to identify and investigate corruption in provincial departments and government entities.

One person had already been found guilty of fraud and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, suspended for five years.

The accused was repaying R735000 in monthly instalments of R12500.

Some cases were already in courts, while others were still being investigated.

Cronjé said no new cases had been detected since the implementation of Project Unembeza in 2008, a strategy aimed at identifying weaknesses in the IT system and networks.

It was launched when 19 fraudulent transactions amounting to R179million were detected.

Meanwhile, MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Nomusa Dube has vowed to clamp down on corrupt and errant municipalities

The department has recovered up to R5million from rogue deals. Councillors and officials of ANC-led municipalities like Msunduzi, Umvoti, Newcastle and those for IFP Ulundi, Zululand and Umkhanyakude are among those under investigation. - Sapa and Mhlaba Memela